And so this week’s moment of happiness despite the news.
It’s amazing to me that, right after writing about how a young friend’s handheld game system was returned to her in a lost and found, and how that event restored for me a faith in the simple goodness of people, that lesson would come again. But this time, directly to me and to my husband, Michael.
Last Sunday, when Michael returned home from grocery shopping at Woodman’s, he walked slowly up the stairs to my office. “I have to tell you something,” he said.
The tone of his voice instantly alarmed me. I imagined his losing my bank card, which I sent with him to pay for the groceries. I imagined his newly healed lack-of-toe suddenly aching with a new ache and bursting into a blood fountain. “What now?” I cried.
“I lost my wedding ring.”
Now I have to admit, my response was a lackluster, but relieved, “Oh, okay.” His news wasn’t either of the above scenarios. And I was also in the middle of doing the studio’s ledger, which I hadn’t done in two weeks because I’d been sick. When I do the ledger, it’s like four very close walls and a low ceiling come down around me, and all I can see is my computer screen with the numbers. Even after 17 years in business, I am terrified of doing the ledger. I am not good at math, and I am convinced that I will do some huge mistake that will bring the studio to its knees in one strike of the keyboard. The actual walls of our home could fall down around me, and I wouldn’t notice, while I’m doing the ledger.
And so I said, “Oh, okay,” and returned to my work. Michael went downstairs. And it wasn’t until I was done with the ledger, when I closed the file, that I looked at my blank screen and said, “Oh, no!”
We’ve been married for 22 years. Those rings have rarely left our fingers. Recently, when Michael was in the hospital with his foot infection, he handed me his ring as he was taken off to surgery. I took off my own ring, put on his, then put my ring back on next to it. It seemed right that during that time apart, our rings would be together, on my hand.
I went downstairs and got the rest of the details. Michael has lost a lot of weight. He didn’t try to; it’s the result of working at a job that has him constantly on his feet and walking at least 7 miles a day. His ring had become very loose and we’d talked about getting it sized. At the grocery store, Michael had the ring when he began bagging at the self checkout. When he was done, the ring was gone. As he began to search, the manager came over to see what was wrong. Then the manager checked the video and confirmed that at the start of bagging, the ring was on his finger. At the end, not. So the ring had to be right there somewhere.
Michael tore apart the bags he’d packed. The manager tore apart the register. They looked over and under and into everything in the area.
Michael left with a promise from the manager that they would keep looking and would call if it was found. Olivia told me that when Michael got into her car, he was in tears.
Apparently, my husband was more upset over this loss of the symbol of our marriage than he was over the recent amputation of his own toe.
I began to do what I could. I went on the NextDoor app and posted what happened, and asked anyone going to Woodman’s to look for the ring. I thought maybe fresh, and unpanicked, eyes might see better. I contacted Rogers & Holland, where we originally purchased the rings, to see if there was any chance they still had the same ring in a vault somewhere.
The folks on the NextDoor app were amazing, sending well wishes and hopes that we’d find it. Rogers & Holland responded, asking for a description and picture of the rings, so they could look for it.
On Tuesday morning, when I got up, I found a message on the NextDoor app from the same nice man who repaired our Little Free Library. He said he went to Woodman’s to take a peek under the belt of the register. And then he said, “Somebody returned your husband’s ring at Woodman’s!! They have it!”
I instantly woke up Michael, who had the day off. “They have it!” I said. I’ve never seen him wake up so fast. His breath rushed out with a whoosh and he hugged me so hard, I toppled into the bed.
I called Woodman’s, and they confirmed that they had it. As soon as I was done with morning clients, we went there to retrieve it. The women at the customer service desk cheered.
Then we drove directly to Rogers & Holland to get the ring sized. The women at the customer service desk cheered.
The people on the NextDoor app cheered.
We felt like the whole world cheered. And so did we. The ring isn’t back on Michael’s finger yet, but it will be soon.
And so my moment of happiness? There are two.
One, I have a husband who, even after 22 years of marriage, was heartbroken at the loss of a simple piece of jewelry that represents our union.
And two, despite the Big Bad News, there are still many good people in the world. Someone returned that ring, instead of keeping it for themselves or selling it. I wish we knew who it was. And so maybe, instead of focusing on all the Big Bad News, created by and spouted over by Big Bad People, we should be paying attention to the Everyday Good. Because it’s out there. And while the news might be Big and Bad, the Good still overcomes it.
Merry Christmas, everyone.
And yes, that helps. Despite. Anyway.